Even in the best of economies, finding a new job requires time and effort. In 2020, that time and effort is multiplied, providing challenges that none of us could plan for. But it doesn’t mean there is no hope.
Companies are hiring; in fact, some of them are expanding! You might just have to look at your job search a little bit differently than in previous times.
Traditional methods of job search and tried and true pointers about resume’s and interviews are still valid, but they might just need to be adjusted for the current circumstances. Try some of these fresh approaches to your daily job hunt:
Online networking—the days of handshakes and business happy hours are a distant memory. Use technology to accomplish the same goals. Platforms such as LinkedIn and specialty groups are a great way to meet others. Become an active participant; offer advice or words of encouragement, share articles and follow companies you are interested in. You will be sure to see job updates or hear about opportunities through this venue. You might also hear about industries that are growing due to the pandemic while others that are shrinking—ultimately, conversations are networking even if they are online.
Social media–it is also a great time to clean up your social media platforms and use them for networking. Scrub your content and remove anything you do not want potential employers to see. If that is too much work, make your profile private. Once your online presence is updated, think of how you want to market yourself and your expertise to the outside world. In other words, what is your brand?
Your brand–you could describe yourself as a manger and maybe even take it a bit further and describe it as an IT resource manager, but neither of those are very enticing or encouraging to a prospective employer. In fact, in this environment, you might have just lumped yourself with thousands of others rather than stand out. Focus and describe what is unique about you and capture that in a statement that describes what you are good at and how your skills will benefit a potential employer.
Be discerning–none of us want to take the first job that comes along, but you might have to depending on your circumstances. But, if you have the ability to be choosy about your next opportunity, don’t waste time applying to every position. The competition right now is insane and you should focus on customizing your resume to ensure a hiring manager can clearly see your value and believe they can’t do without hiring you. That means really examining each and every word to ensure it is the best word and the best sentence that sells you—adaptable, problem solver, positive attitude and results driven (with accompanying statistics to validate your claim).
Think outside of the box—a lot of jobs today are remote. Think about how you would accomplish the job you are applying for from home and sell that strategy. Companies want people who are serious and dedicated to remote jobs for their remote roles. If you’re someone who can show you’re committed as a remote worker for the long-term, you’ll have an advantage. Don’t just talk about being willing to adapt, do it. Learn a new skill or get a new certification. And more importantly, brush up on your online presence and virtual meeting skills.
The interview—of course, you probably won’t have an in-person interview, so spend some time focusing on virtual communication. Not only should you practice speaking to ensure you can be heard clearly and your internet bandwidth is sufficient, you should also take time to make sure your visual background is appropriate, how to sit and what type of lighting will enhance your best look.
Follow up—you have to be patient. Normally, you would express additional interest in the position with a post interview note or email. In today’s environment, you should still try to express that interest, but just know that responses could be varied. Working from home can be a bit cumbersome at times regardless of your position. The human resource department is no different. Before ending the interview, ask if there is a cited delay or pause in the recruitment process or communication status. Use that as your guideline for following up. Hopefully your time in 2020 spent unemployed is at a minimum. Regardless, be sure to use it wisely. It is a great time to rethink and retool some old habits and put forth fresh efforts for your next working adventure.